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Tuesday, December 3, 1996

Local merchants report holiday sales up

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From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, December 3, 1996 - Chris Metler is excited about the Christmas
shopping season, which started Friday at C.R. Anthony's with a full
parking lot all day.

"It's a much better start than last year," Metler said. "We had a great
response from the town of Pecos. A lot more people came to shop with us."

Clothes are tops on many people's shopping list this year, and
Anthony's is reaping the benefits.

"I think our buyers have done a much better job of trying to buy for
these small towns, so they don't have to go out-of-town to shop," Metler

Today is red carpet day at Anthony's for senior citizens, who get a 15
percent discount off all purchases - even jeans and sale items.

Fonville Jewelry's 16-page catalog of gift items and jewelry "seems to
be real effective," said Bill Cooksey, owner.

"I think we have had better traffic," Cooksey said. "It seems like it
has been real good. We mailed the catalog to all zip codes in this area,
and have sold a lot from it."

Vanessa Cardwell, Wal-Mart manager, attributes the early sales increase
to the short shopping season created by a late Thanksgiving.

"People realized they have less time to shop, so they are getting it
done now, rather than waiting," she said.

Rediger's Pharmacy has also seen an increase in traffic through their
gift store. But down the street, Virginia Flores said her flower
arrangements and centerpieces sell closer to Christmas. She plans to
start a sale next week.

Peggy Walker said her business at Needleworks has been normal.

"So many Pecos people go out of town for Thanksgiving," she said.

Across the U.S., the shopping trend also was up after a dismal season a
year ago.

Consumers crowded the nation's stores and malls with their wallets
open, and several national retailers said they had their best
Thanksgiving weekend ever.

``Last year was the weakest Christmas in 11 years,'' said Clark
Johnson, chairman of Pier One Imports Inc., which sells home
furnishings. But ``this weekend was beyond our level of expectations.''

``This is going to be a strong Christmas,'' he predicted.

Last year, a shaky economy and low consumer confidence left retailers
with depressed holiday sales, which generally account for about half of
stores' annual sales and profits.

A rebounding economy has retailers more upbeat about consumer spending,
and the strong sales over the holiday gave merchants more confidence
that shoppers would spend enthusiastically until Christmas.

Revenues at malls rose by 11 percent from a year ago on the day after
Thanksgiving, according to the International Council of Shopping
Centers. TeleCheck Services Inc., a check approval service, said the
amount of sales paid for by check that day rose 3.6 percent.

Topping many gift lists was clothing, a big boon to apparel retailers
who have struggled over the last few years. Sales at J.C. Penney Co.
Inc. stores were boosted over the weekend, thanks to buying in its all
its apparel departments, spokesman Duncan Muir said.

Toys and jewelry also sold well, as did perfume and cosmetics.
Consumers also showed interest in home products, including electronics,
furnishings and tools.

That was good news for Sears, Roebuck and Co., which reported strong
sales in tools, as well as computers, men's and kid's apparel, shoes and

``We had our best Thanksgiving weekend ever,'' said John Costello, the
department store's senior executive vice president.

Other stores didn't fare as well. Business at Dayton Hudson's
department stores, which include Dayton's, Hudson's and Marshall
Field's, was a little slower than last year, said spokeswoman Susan
Eich, who attributed the decline to a reduction in sales promotions from
a year ago.

Retailers used sales and early store openings to lure shoppers. Some
stores opened as early as 5 a.m., while others, including 40 percent of
all Wal-Mart stores, stayed open 24 hours a day.

But the first weekend of the holiday season isn't necessarily a gauge
of how the remaining weeks until Christmas will go, and some economists
worried that high credit card debt levels may restrain some shoppers.

``What we've seen indicates this has been an extremely good weekend.''
said Tracy Mullin, president of the National Retail Federation, a
Washington-based trade group. But she cautioned, ``You never know how
the season is going to pan out until it is over.''

Copyright 1996 Pecos Enterprise. All rights reserved. AP contributed to
this report.

Social Security banks on new program

to cut costs by requiring direct deposit

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Staff Writer
PECOS, December 3, 1996 - Social Security recipients will soon be seeing
notices with their monthly checks that will require them to open a bank
account, as part of the government's effort to decrease cases of lost or
stolen checks.

Fred Garcia, with the teleservice office for the U.S. Social Security
Administration's Office in Albuquerque, said the department's direct
deposit service will become mandatory within the next three years for
all Social Security recipients.

He explained that anyone who applied for Social Security after Aug. 1,
1996 is required to have a checking account in order to participate in
the direct deposit program, or sign a statement disclosing that they
don't have a bank account.

In the latter case, Garcia said, a message to the payment center will be
sent to stop benefits to the payee.

Persons who were already receiving Social Security benefits before Aug.
1, 1996, will have to get a checking account by the year 1999, the
Social Security official said.

"We'll be sending out notices with the checks," of the changes, Garcia
said this morning.

Reasons for the requirement deal with the number of lost or stolen
checks reported every year, he said.

An investigation follows, said Garcia, whenever a recipient reports a
late check, "and then they (payment center) have to go back and write
another check."

Rodeo ropes No. 12 spot in rankings

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Staff Writer
PECOS, December 3, 1996 - The West of the Pecos Rodeo has risen in
status nationwide, according to rodeo president Jim Bob McNeil.

"We were rated in 22nd in 1995 and with our added purse money have risen
to 12th," said McNeil.

The purse money was increased by about $35,000, and the 1996 rodeo had
nearly 700 cowboys entered, which was about 100 more than in recent

"Our purse payout was $222,000," said McNeil, explaining that the payout
is a combination of the purse the rodeo committee has, plus the cowboys'
entry fee.

"This is a really big honor, rising that much in status," he said.

The Pecos rodeo is not only competing with the big Texas rodeos, such as
Houston, San Antonio and Fort Worth, but also against the largest rodeos
across the nation.

Rodeos in Greeley, Colo., and Eugene, Ore., have challenged Pecos in
recent years for the top pay-outs among July 4 rodeos. Greeley's
Independence Stampede was ranked 13th last year, with a $204,500 pay out.

Eight rodeo committee members will be traveling to Las Vegas Wednesday
morning to a rodeo convention, which is part of the annual National
Finals Rodeo.

"Most of the expenses for the trip is at the committee members'
expense," said McNeil. This group includes rodeo committee members and
their spouses.

Those traveling to Las Vegas include president McNeil and his wife,
Leslie; Ray and Brandy Owen; Clay and Brenda McKinney; and Bob and Peggy
Walker. The group will be joined by Jim and Charlene Martinez.

"We'll meet with stock contractors, program sponsors such as Coors,
Seagram's, Justin and Copenhagen, to name a few," said McNeil.

They have also scheduled a meeting with PRCA executive council, which is
the first time they have met with that group, according to McNeil.

"We will be discussing information pertaining to the Pecos rodeo, only,"
he said.

Rodeo committee members will be back in town on Saturday.

"We started in August planning for the 1997 rodeo and are looking
forward to it," said McNeil. "We're hoping to make it really big, and
better for everyone."

"We have been working really hard and we're hoping for the best for
'97," he added.

Teen `cops' deputy's car in attempt to visit brother

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PECOS, December 3, 1996 - A local teen was arrested after he decided to
help himself to a sheriff's department unit, late last month, to go see
his ailing brother in Eagle Pass.

Felipe Sanchez, Jr., 17, was arrested Nov. 25 by Reeves County Chief
Deputy Fred Lujan after being transported back to Pecos from Val Verde
County, where he was pulled over by a Del Rio Department of Public
Safety trooper.

Lujan said this morning that Sanchez allegedly, hot-wired the sheriffs
department unit, number 60, while it was parked in the northside parking
lot of the county jail the night of Nov. 24.

Lujan reported that upon receiving a phone call from the Val Verde DPS
agent, Nov. 25, all car keys were checked and accounted for.

The chief deputy said that the teen said he was headed for Eagle Pass to
see his brother, who was in the hospital.

The boy was pulled over by the trooper after he attempted to solicit
free gasoline at a Del Rio convenient store, while posing as a sheriffs
deputy Lujan said. He added, the store clerk found him to be suspicious
and called DPS.

Lujan was charged with theft over $1,500 and under


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High Monday 68, low last night 34. Tonight, partly cloudy. Low near 30.
Southeast wind 5-10 mph. Wednesday, mostly sunny. High around 60.
Southeast wind 5-10 mph in the morning becoming south during the

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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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